CBSE Wanted Teacher Eligibility Test To Happen In 3 Languages Only, HRD Minister Overrules It
Union Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD), Prakash Javadekar on Monday clarified and reiterated that the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) 2018 will be held in all 20 languages like last year.
The HRD Minister issued a statement following reports in the media suggesting that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had dropped 17 out of the 20 languages, making the exam available only in English, Hindi and Sanskrit.
CTET examination will be conducted in all Indian languages as was being conducted earlier. I have already directed @cbseindia29 to conduct examination in all the 20 languages as was being done earlier.
— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) June 18, 2018
The other languages are Assamese, Bangla, Garo, Gujarati, Kanada, Khasi, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Mizo, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Tibetan & Urdu.
The News Minute reported that the CTET website clearly stated the examination would be held in only three languages (Hindi, English, Sanskrit), out of which the aspirants had to choose two, before the minister directed otherwise.
A Political Twist
This caused an uproar in Tamil Nadu, with DMK leader Kanimozhi expressing her anger on Twitter. She tweeted, “The decision to drop Tamil and 16 other regional languages from Central Teacher Eligibility Test is highly condemnable and strikes at the root of federalism. Students of CBSE whose mother tongue is Tamil will be put to a great disadvantage without teachers”.
The decision to drop Tamil & 16 other regional languages from Central Teacher Eligibility Test is highly condemnable and strikes at the root of federalism. Students of CBSE whose mother tongue is Tamil will be put to a great disadvantage without teachers..
— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) June 18, 2018
Furthermore, she added, “Students are forced to study Hindi and Sanskrit instead of their mother tongue. This will lead to another language struggle throughout the country. This is another of BJPs efforts to make a Hindi-Hindu Hindustan.”
Students are forced to study Hindi & Sanskrit instead of their mother tongue. This will lead to another language struggle through out the country. This is another of BJPs efforts to make a Hindi-Hindu Hindustan.
— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) June 18, 2018
The Times of India quoted Former Director of Government Exams K Devarajan who said, “In Tamil Nadu, most candidates select English as language I and Tamil as language II. Though some candidates may know Hindi and might even end up teaching it as a third language in CBSE schools, they can’t compete with native Hindi speakers in CTET”.
Another renowned educationist Prince Gajendra Babu asked whether such a big policy decision could be taken keeping HRD Ministry in the blind. He was quoted by The News Minute as saying, “Are they trying to say that the director of CBSE took such a big policy decision without informing the HRD ministry?”.
He further added, “This is a violation of people’s constitutional rights. Not of the teacher’s but also the student’s right to receive education in his or her mother tongue. The Union Ministry has clearly adopted the wait and watch approach. They were testing waters to see how people react and the minute Tamil Nadu burst out in anger they took back the decision.”
The CTET Examination is a compulsory exam for teachers of Kendriya Vidyalayas as well as private institutions affiliated to CBSE. The test is divided into Paper I (for those opting for Classes I to V) and Paper II (for those opting for Classes VI to VIII), with a passing percentage of 60%.
Additionally, the test has compulsory language sections again divided into two parts, with the first for proficiency in the medium of instruction and second on communication and comprehension. The candidates are given an option to choose one of these aa s languages I and the other as II.
CBSE to move to the High Court
CBSE is set to approach the Delhi Court seeking more time to conduct the examination, The Indian Express reported. The test was scheduled for September 16 in 92 cities across the country, and with the minister’s directive, it is in all likelihood going to be postponed, the media outlet quoted one of the sources.
The Delhi High Court had directed the board in April to conduct the examination in four months, after which the exam notification was passed on May 31, sparking a row as the applicants pointed out that language options for CTET were limited to English, Hindi and Sanskrit. Political parties in Tamil Nadu protested against the change and alleged that this was an attempt by the Centre to impose Hindi and Sanskrit on the state.
A senior official of CBSE denied the allegations and told The Indian Express, “We need time for translation. So, we decided to do it in two phases. Phase I would have English, Hindi and Sanskrit as language options and Phase 2 would be in remaining languages.”
The Logical Indian Take
The debate over the imposition of a particular language over the general populace has been around since India became independent. The political mileage being garnered aside, the future of aspiring teachers, and more important, the futures of millions of children whom these teachers will eventually guide, is at the stake. Teaching in the vernacular helps the students, especially those from less-privileged backgrounds to connect more with the subject matter. Inverse decision making from Delhi has almost never helped policy implementation in the past, then why are we still trying to enforce one-size-fits-all approach. In our country, where we have been so careful in not having a ‘national’ language per se, how can an apex autonomous body like CBSE can take this decision without keeping the HRD ministry in the loop? Prakash Javadekar’s decision to overrule the CBSE notification comes after a political backlash but is a welcome decision for both the aspiring teachers and the students.